March 30, 2013

Book Haul #9 + The Raven Readers!

Book Haul Banner
Hey guys! Welcome back to another rocking edition of Book Haul! I've got some really epic news, so check out the bottom of the post too!

Dare You to by Katie McGarry
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Worm Winds of Zanzibar by Martin Dukes
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Shatter Me by Tahreh Mafi
Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates

What did y'all get this week? (:

I'm part of a collaborative book blog! We're looking for other bloggers too, so if you're interested stop by and fill out the form or email me!! Check out The Raven Readers!

March 29, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins + Guest Post + Giveaway

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: N/A
Source: Blog Tour (view tour schedule HERE.)
Publisher: Walkers Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.
Stung had all of the action that I would expect in a dystopian, but it was lacking in the character department. Even though I liked Fiona and Bowen, I felt like they were missing something. I think that I'll chalk Fiona up for memory loss-- it's kind of hard to have a good personality if you don't, well, know what you've been doing for the last four years. But Bowen doesn't have a very good excuse-- and it just seemed like they fell in love too quickly.

In a book like this, though-- I think that was acceptable. The author focused more on the action, which was good. It was fast-paced, along with being believable for a dystopian world. As always, though, I have a few questions. Where are all the women? Even in the wall, they seem to be scarce. And it never explains why-- it's just put out their and kind of forgotten about.

"There is no cure for being stung."

No one is ever stung. Let me let that sink in. The book really isn't about the possibility of being stung and the consequences. It's way after that. But telling you would involve revealing spoilers, so it's in the brackets if you wanna see it. [They genetically modify the bees, because they're all dying out. Then the genetically modified bees kill the regular ones, and release a toxin into the air that causes a deadly flu. So they invent a vaccine for it, which causes all of the people injected with it to go psycho insane. Basically, the vaccine causes it, not the sting.]

I gotta clarify something. I think that Fiona and Bowen were okay, but not desperately awesome, you know? I was rooting for them, and wondering where Fiona had come from. I was hoping that their romance would work out, even if it did happen in such a short time. But I'm an optimist, so I think this turned out fairly well.

All in all, I liked Stung, but there were some things I just couldn't get into.

Guest Post:
The Allure of Dystopia
by Bethany Wiggins

Thank you so much for taking part in the STUNG blog tour! And such an intriguing question! Why are people fascinated with dystopian societies/literature?

First of all, here is the definition of DYSTOPIA: Anti-utopia, an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.

Here's what I think, but I am no expert. I think people are intrigued by the possibility that we, as a society, may one day end up as a "dystopian" society. I mean, the "end of the world" has been talked about for centuries! And from a number of different sources, like the Bible, Nostradamus, the Mayans (obviously they weren't correct since I am alive to post this!), Edgar Cayce . . . the list goes on and on. 

There is a lot of turmoil in our world right now, with natural disasters, political unrest, religious unrest, wars--I could go on, but I won't. So, with everything happening around us, I think people almost sense a change in things, worry that it may be a BAD change, and gravitate to books that are sort of the "What if's" of the future.

What do I mean by "What if's?" Well, take The Hunger Games for example. What if your country gets so bad that it really is divided into thirteen divisions, and people are forced to send two children to fight to the death to keep the peace? I think people can almost imagine society taking such a downward spiral that we end up living a dystopian life.

That brings me to STUNG. I based a lot of the plot for STUNG on events that are happening right now in the world. Take the bees. What if the bees start dying off in such extreme numbers that the government sees genetic modification as our only hope of saving them? And what if it backfires? Or, what if the government produces some vaccine that the news says we all need if we want to live . . . but what if the FDA didn't do enough research on the vaccine and in the long run it does more harm than good? There are endless possibilities and ways that our society can go from what it is now, to REALLY BAD! 

Anyway, I am rambling! So, in a nutshell, I think people gravitate to books that have an iota of truth, or an iota of a possible future--no matter how far-fetched--and that is why they are currently gobbling up dystopian novels. Because maybe all of those sources predicting end of the world doomsday woes aren't wrong. Maybe we will be living in a dystopian society one day! Mwa ha ha! Or maybe they like to read the stories where life is really bad because it reminds them how good we really do have it. 

About the Author:

Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid writer.  She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn't until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction--not the Bible.

Once upon a time, Bethany's sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read--but it taught her how to write.  She is the author of SHIFTING, STUNG (April 2013), and CURED (2014).

Find Bethany: Website | Goodreads | Twitter
Find Stung: Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository | IndieBound
This giveaway is for four signed copies of Stung and honey sticks!! Woohoo! :D
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March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #13

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)
Title: A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly, #2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.
Sequel to Something Strange and Deadly. Isn't that enough? No? Well, fine then. I want to see how Eleanor handles the aftermath, and I'm dying for my fill of Daniel, who is my favorite character! Really, it sounds fantastic, and I've been waiting for it ever since I finished SSaD!

March 25, 2013

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)
Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Trilogy, #1
Source: Traded for
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Embrace the Forbidden.

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
When I first started Sweet Evil, I was really nervous. Try finding a review that's less than four stars on Goodreads, you know? I'm not afraid to dislike a popular book (*cough*The Fault in Our Stars*cough*), but it makes me kind of nervous about expectations, you know? Anywho, my worries were completely stupid! I really enjoyed this one, in the end.

But before we get into my love for this book, I gotta list what I didn't like. Because there were a few things! First off, I'm absolutely tired of girls getting giggly and thoughtless around the main "love interest" as soon as they see him. "He's so HOTT!!" That's unnecessary, in my opinion. It's not like it adds to the story. You'll do better showing me that he's hot. Also, Anna was uncomfortable in the clothes she was wearing. If you're uncomfortable in what you're wearing, you should wear something else. It's common sense. And if you're uncomfortable, you can't own it. One last thing (it's not related to the book, but needs to be said): If you're uncomfortable talking to someone, don't talk to them.

The boys are all brawny. Everytime that Anna describes a guy, he's brawny. Excuse me, but how many of us know all "brawny" guys? I mean, I know a few, but they're mostly all beanpoles or chubs. Honestly, we're all around sixteen, so none of us have really filled into our bodies yet, LOL! Only the lucky few. ;) I'm also a little upset about the drugging-- shouldn't she be more upset?

Random funny note: I really want to say Kaidan like Kaedon, even though it's pronounced Kyden. The only time I made the "i" sound in his name was when they called him Kai.

Anywho, now we can move onto what I liked! The list is long, so prepare!

I liked the story. It kept me interested, and I followed it really well. I've also always liked books about fallen angels and regular angels, and the nephilim, so this was a hit for me in that sense. Also, ROADTRIP! I love books that incorporate some kind of roadtrip, because I really want to go on one. Like, a lot. Books about roadtrips make me smile, so here we are.

You know what else makes me smile? Funny one-liners, and there were a few of those for me. I snort rather unattractively, I must say. The romance, though? Did not make me snort. AT ALL. It was AWESOME. Kai and Anna just worked for me, after I got over the initial "son of Lust" thing. They work well for each other, and the kissing-- *fans self* I was totally swooning. But I sense a love triangle coming, which is disappointing.

I will admit to having my doubts about them, at first. Anna was just so...I don't know. She let everyone boss her around, and was easily pressured into things. She was nice. But once I read about her a little more, she kind of shed that persona, and became more plucky, which was great.

Kaidan was really annoying to me at first, because he was kind of a heartless player, and that bothered me. But as we get to know him, I realized that he's actually kind of nice. He can be (but isn't always) a gentleman, and he really knows how to make us girls swoon.

While I liked our two main characters, I feel like some of the secondary characters like Jay and Patti and some of nephilim could have gotten more development. While it's disappointing that they didn't, it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the story, nor did the chaos towards the end. All these things started happening at once, so much that they kind of blurred together, but it still didn't bother me.

All in all, I really enjoyed Sweet Evil. As you can see, though, I had a lot of thoughts on it, not all good. Hopefully, I persuaded some of you to read it. (:
There's no floating through life; you have to stay alert. Whether you're called on to fulfill that purpose today or when you're a hundred, you've got to be a productive part of society between now and then! ~ Pg. 351

March 22, 2013

The Tales of Anyil the Traveler by Paul Vincent Rodriguez

The Tale of Aynil the Traveler
Title: The Tales of Anyil the Traveler
Author: Paul Vincent Rodriguez
Series: Tales of Fairies, #1
Source: Author for review
Publisher: Renaissance Peak
Publication Date: April 24, 2011
Goodreads||The Book Depository
The first in the Tales of Fairies series. Aynil (pronounced eye-nil) is the rarest of all fairies a Traveler. Because fairies rarely travel outside a small radius around their homes, it is the job of the traveler to go where the spirit pulls him and live as long as is necessary to find the special messages he was sent to learn.

Aynil's life is one of constantly adapting to new environments, of learning new cultures, and of frustration; frustration that comes from wondering if he will ever go home. The story he shared spans fifteen human years of his life and includes the three most important experiences he had while on the wing.
I found The Tales of Anyil the Traveler to be a quick and charming MG novel. It was filled with magic and action and adventure, and it also had a healthy dose of morals. (And the moral of the story is? Lots.) I slipped into this story with the ease of a much younger person-- one who's of the age for MG's.

The introduction was absolutely fabulous. It immediately sets the feel for the story, and it adds a lot of wonder to the reading. Authors should believe what they write, you know? It makes the entire experience better, I think. Anyil himself wasn't a OMAHGERD AWESOME character, but I enjoyed his narration, along with all of his adventures as a traveler.

For such a short book, this really covers a long time period. Think years. Crazy, right? Also, it has an ever-changing cast of characters! As many times as new characters came and old characters went, I never felt confused at all. I had a good grasp at all times, which is new for me. YAY for new experiences!!

The dialog is simple and easy to follow, which I think is important-- but there were a few punctuation errors. Nothing big, but I just felt I'd mention it.

All in all, I enjoyed Anyil, and MG is definitely a genre that I'll be looking more into soon.
But I did know one thing;
Wherever I went, there I would be. ~ Pg. 48

March 21, 2013

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

The Art of Wishing
Title: The Art of Wishing
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Series: The Art of Wishing, #1
Source: Won
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 21, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.
I'm not sure that I can live with that ending-- it's crazy intriguing, considering we have a trilogy in the making. (Which I didn't know when I started, honestly.) But I'm totally happy that we'll get to read more about Margo and Oliver...because their story is totally awesome! As a reader, I really can't wait to see where it goes from here-- I have no idea where it could go. Plot. o_O

Which brings us to my first point-- the plot was predictable. I was figuring out things before they happened, but a certain level of predictability is expected  in fantasy/paranormal books for me. Which is honestly why I don't read them all the time, even though contemps are predictable. They're just more my cup of tea for some reason. But this book was a tad predictable, in a good way. I have so much love for it's level of predictability! 

(Do you see that heart?? It is my love for this book!) So...awkward fangirling moment aside, this book was really fabulous. The characters were well developed, and the romance was tres magnifique! Yes, there was romance. I love it, you know I do! But the characters...

Margo was great, she really was. She had morals that made her seem like a normal girl (not particularly bad, not particularly good), because she totally questions things before she does them. I do too, to a point. And that's what made me like her at first-- she asks questions! I ask people stupid  questions, all the time. So it resonated well with me that she questions things. I also really liked that she didn't immediately think of herself as being in love with Oliver. Or even lust! She sees him and she thinks he's cute. She doesn't feel immediate attraction, doesn't want to eat his face, and doesn't want to have his babies immediately. That is A-OK with me, because I really loathe that in a character! Plus she's not gorgeous. She doesn't have boys falling at her feet, and Oliver isn't gorgeous either! YAY! Normal people! (Well...aside from the genie part.)

Speaking of genies, we have a type A example of one right under our noses! I think that Oliver fits the part of genie (djinn, whatever), quite well. I could see him wanting to please his master all the time, and really liking his job! And honestly, I've always really loved the idea of genies-- mostly because of Aladdin! (Which don't worry, the movie is referenced. Turns out that freeing a genie is a no-no. Who knew?)

But I think I've rambled on about this book enough, so I'll leave you with this: The Art of Wishing is totally worth checking out, and I recommend it for anyone that's looking for a satisfying and unique paranormal.
"Is the ocean the same as a cup of water? A cup of water is something you can toss away, or boil and flavor to taste, or consume without a drop left over. The ocean, though...the ocean consumes you." ~ Pg. 254, ARC

March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #12

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Series: N/A
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.
This is going to sound really grody or whatever, but I've always been really...I don't know (I swear, I had the perfect word a second ago!), fascinated? Intrigued? Just interested, I guess, in books about suicide. The why and such. And this sounds like a really good read to set my sick sites on, you know?

March 19, 2013

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Wrapped (Wrapped, #1)
Title: Wrapped
Author: Jennifer Bradbury
Series: Wrapped, #1
Source: Traded for
Publisher: Antheum Books
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history. Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.

Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.

Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.

This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.

Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.
For whatever reason, Wrapped didn't really work for me. It was entertaining and all, but I didn't really love it. The mystery was overly predictable (I had it all figured out within a few chapters), and the action parts were just too convenient for my taste. They never really have to work hard to figure it out, you know?

It was just...too easy. (That's the second time I've had this complaint in a month. O.O) I mean, overall it was enjoyable. It really was! But I just can't get over the ease for whatever reason. On another note, I did like the scattered bits of mythology, and the era that this was set in. I have so much love for historical novels!!

Agnes was really down to earth, even when she's seeing conspiracies in everything, and jumping at every little noise. She managed to be a take-charge, kick-butt kind of gal in a time where everyone was just kind of placid, and I can't applaud her enough for that! Yay for risktakers!! Also, Agnes commentary on everyone was a lot of fun to read. (: (Did I mention that she reads?? Books!! Yay!!)

Overall (wow, this is a short review. o.O), Wrapped was a fun novel, even if things fell into place a little too easy.

March 16, 2013

Book Haul #8

I'm sorry that I missed last week, y'all! I feel like such a slacker. ;P Anywho, these last few weeks have been-- surprising to say the least. I got some awesome new books that I can't wait to read-- and a buddy read might be in the works. (One can hope!) BUT. I have big news, and so does everyone else.
Google Reader is being discontinued. I recommend Feedly. (:

Now, on to the books! (:

The Plains of Laramie by Lauren Paine (Gifted)
Gunsmoke by T.T. Flynn (Gifted)
The Rules by Stacey Kade (I have no idea, but it came from Disney. o.O)
Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion (Accepted Review Pitch)
Fitz by Mick Cochrane (Randombuzzers)
The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper (Randombuzzers-- I didn't realize that this was a series!)
Dualed by Elsie Chapman (Gifted by Sarah from Book-A-Holic-- she's awesome, seriously! xoxox)
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (Traded for)
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (Won)
That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard (Requested)
Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust by Leanne Lieberman (Won)

So, how do you feel about these books? Are they any good? Terrible? Also, what do y'all think about the impending G reader doom? Let me know in the comments! (:

March 15, 2013

If We Kiss by Rachel Vail

If We Kiss (If We Kiss, #1)
Title: If We Kiss
Author: Rachel Vail
Series: If We Kiss, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 25, 2006
Goodreads||The Book Depository
What would happen if we kiss?

Kevin led me quickly around the side of the building, then stopped. I managed not to crash into him. I tried to look calm, cool, unperturbed. I told myself not to laugh, especially not a snorting kind of laugh. "Wha . . . what did . . ."

And then he kissed me.

If We Kiss is the story of Charlotte (Charlie to her friends), who finds herself falling for a boy who is off-limits. Her best friend is in love with him, and her mother and his father are dating. Still, Charlie can't help but wonder, what would happen if we kiss?
If We Kiss was a satisfying read about first kisses, first crushes, and overall, just growing up. Charlie was a fabulous main character, even though I thought that she seemed a tad bit immature sometimes. Honestly, sometimes she seemed overly mature too, so I'm not really sure what to say about that. Her maturity level bounced around, I guess. But most of the time I found myself cheering her on, and she grew on me.

She seemed really normal, you know? Not that I don't love YA's extraordinary characters thing, but I'm *le gasp* weirdly normal. So it was refreshing to read about a character that I could imagine goofing off with. Some of the interactions with her friends seemed strangely familiar (similar jokes between me and mine) and they made me like her even more. She had a fantastic sense of humor.

The one thing that killed me about If We Kiss was the insta-love, though. By the end of the first chapter, Charlie thinks herself in love with Kevin-- and I just wasn't feeling it. They had one kiss, then suddenly Charlie just can't wait to see him again, she wants to kiss him again, she thinks she's in love with him-- it just didn't work for me. Overall, I really enjoyed this one, way. I'm no fan of insta-love.

I am, however, a fan of forbidden love. Kevin and Charlie's romance falls nicely into that category, so of course after I got over the insta I was going to enjoy it. And I did. They're so sweet together, and I honestly don't think that they ever meant to hurt anyone. They were just confused, and young, and...hormonal? Yeah, that's it. Hormonal. *snickers*

All in all, If We Kiss was a really sweet contemporary, but it's ending left me wanting more.
I do like George, I guess. There's nothing not to like. I feel bad for him, though. He has this idea of me that he likes a whole lot more than he'd ever like the actual, secret, horrible me. He thinks I have values and standards and morals, that I'm "mature" that I'm "deep". But I'm not the person he and my mother think I am, or at least I'm not anymore. ~ Pg. 36

March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Isla and the Happily Ever After
Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Companion to Anna and the French Kiss, #3
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
Hello, companion to Anna and the French Kiss? Surely you've heard of it! (And hopefully you've read it!) I can't say that I'm a fan of the cover redesigns, but the cover can be hideous and the story be awesome.... right? I really hope that this one is amazingly awesome, so I can justify my fangirlishness over it. *sigh*

March 12, 2013

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

The Brides of Rollrock Island
Title: The Brides of Rollrock Island
Author: Margo Lanagan
Series: N/A
Source: Won
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
On remote Rollrock Island, men make their living--and fetch their wives--from the sea.

The Witch Misskaella knows how to find the girl at the heart of a seal. She'll coax a beauty from the beast for any man, for a price. And what man wouldn't want a sea-wife, to and to hold, and to keep by his side forever?

But though he may tell himself that he is the master, one look in his new bride's eyes will transform him just as much as it changes her. Both will be ensnared--and the witch will look on, laughing.

In this magical, seaswept novel, Margo Lanagan tells an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also of unspoken love.
Mostly, I thought that The Brides of Rollrock Island was an enchanting and strange book, chocked full of stories and characters that I just had to know more about. But for all of that, I'm sure that it wasn't perfect. I loved it to death, and I can't wait to see more by this author, but I can't discount the fact that the beginning just wasn't for me. It was just to abrupt, and it took me about 100 pages before I got into the story.

After that, though, everything proceeded perfectly! Margo really knows how to write a mysterious story, and her writing was fabulous even in the beginning! It might be the only thing that kept me reading for so long-- which I'm really happy about, because when it's all said and done I really liked this one.

It had heartbreak. It had intrigue. But most of all? It had an ugly old witch, who's the center of all the stories. And yes, I know that it's stereotypical to have an ugly witch. But it's also stereotypical to have a beautiful witch, so where do you wanna go with this? I thought as much.

Anywho, we have an ugly witch, and her name is Misskaella. Honestly, Misskaella actually surprised me. She's a total contradiction. In the beginning, I truly thought that she was just cruelly picked upon. She was so unselfish in taking care of both of her sick parents, and she just took all of her sisters' cruelty. I don't think that she would've turned out the way she had if it wasn't for all of this.

She became something strange-- and like I said, a total contradiction. In the end, I was left confused at how she had truly gotten there. How she truly became the seal witch. I mean, I think I get it, but the mysterious element of how and why isn't really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how she inherited it.

The Island of Rollrock is a strange place, I'll give it that. But it was also magical and interesting and I never ever wanted to leave once I had gotten there. I never wanted to leave the mystical island, full of the women that came from the sea and their sons. But they have no daughters. Because the sea has reclaimed every last one of them-- how awesome is that?

I love the idea of a person that can emerge from a seal skin, or essentially, the sea. Like I said before, all of the stories included Misskaella, the seal witch. One memorable bit was even told by her! I loved the way that all of the stories came together, and how they were all essentially connected. The apprentice of Misskaella. A father and son who were involved in the seal-wives. A grandmother jilted by her husband and his seal, along with her grandaughter who becomes a part of that world soon. All so beautifully connected. *sigh*

All in all, I really enjoyed The Brides of Rollrock Island. It was enchanting and beautiful and so full of crushed spirits and broken hearts that I couldn't help but love it for what it was. A gorgeously written book.
All the years to come crowded into that time, and I lived them, long and bitter and empty of him. ~ Pg. 76

March 11, 2013

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Title: Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Author: James Patterson
Series: Teen Detective, #1
Source: Christmas Gift
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family . . . and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone—maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?
In the end, I really have mixed thoughts about this one. I really liked it, but I'm not so sure that it was realistic, considering the circumstances. But leaving it with an open ending like that makes me happy, because for what it's worth, I truly enjoyed it!

The mystery element was very well done, and I kind of didn't see the ending coming. I mean, I had pondered what would happen if this particular thing occurred, but I had dismissed it as too far fetched and left it that. So yes, I was surprised. But also kind of disappointed. I was hoping for more drama-- more intrigue! But alas, we got an ending...and that's something, right?

Which brings us to another thing I want to talk about-- I've said it a bazillion times, I'm more of a character person than a plot person. But I do appreciate good plot, I truly do! James Patterson delivers us good plot (that's thick with lies and deceit) in Confessions of a Murder Suspect, but I'm not so sure that his characters were all that great! I mean, it gave the story a certain sheen and all, but...Tandy and her family really weren't spectacular.

I'm actually not sure how I feel about them. Tandy behaved like a robot for a long time, only giving us little glimpses of actual feeling once in a while, and I'll admit it... her family freaked me out. I mean, when you're telling a story about a six year old taking a machete to a teddy bear...uhm, that freaks me out. I do, however, like the descriptions of their house. It sounds really over-the-top and awesome.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I loved the narration! It was cool how Tandy kept phrasing things as if she was speaking (er...writing) to someone. I mean, check out that quote! It was also really refreshing to read about a protagonist who actually trusts her instincts. However, she was still an odd duck, but maybe in a good way?

All in all, I enjoyed Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. There are still some strings to be tied up! :]
I have some really bad secrets to share with someone, and it might as well be you-- a stranger, a reader of books, but most of all, a person who can't hurt me. ~ Pg. 1